‘Shame on You’: Vigil joins Swazi protest

Vigil supporters had a busy week helping our Swazi friends protest against King Mswati’s visit to the UK for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We were disappointed that the Queen should invite Africa’s last absolute monarch to what we would regard otherwise as a joyful celebration.

Vigil members joined the Swazi protest outside the Savoy Hotel.
Vigil members joined the Swazi protest outside the Savoy Hotel.

Why should the Zimbabwe Vigil be worried about Swaziland? – both countries are in the same boat. We both suffer under brutal regimes which deny democracy and abuse human rights. We regard any friend of President Robert Mugabe as our enemy, so if, for instance, President Sata of Zambia comes to London we will also be there to protest. We were interested to read this week of the difficulty Zambia is experiencing getting Zimbabwe to repay its debts. We also note that the new Malawian President has said that a delegation is trying to get Mugabe to repay money lent to him by the late President Mutharika.

The protests against Mswati culminated after the regular Zimbabwe Vigil when we processed from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the Savoy Hotel about 200 yards down the Strand to greet Mswati’s guests as they arrived for a dinner he was hosting. About 30 of us gathered with our drums and posters. As they went in we heckled them with cries of ‘Shame on you’. Protesters also shouted ‘women abuser’ and ‘save the young girls of Swaziland’. We were not surprised by the news from South Africa that one of the king’s 13 wives has spent the past month in the Presidential Suite of the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg costing $2,000.

The efforts that we and others have made resulted in totally negative media coverage for him in newspapers, television and radio.

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